The Bucks won this game in the 4th quarter in every way except the score. They grabbed key rebounds and kept the game close. They also got to the free throw line many times with many chances to take the lead and end the game and effectively end the series. They left several points on the board in the 4th, and in total left 11 points on the board. They lost the game by 6. 11 free throws, many misses by Giannis, and now a 2-1 series and hope for Toronto. The Bucks won this game by 5. Giannis went 2-7 from the line, Middleton went 2-4, Bledsoe missed 2, even the near automatic Malcolm Brogdon missed a crucial free throw. I could also mention the abysmal 38 field goals made of 102 attempts. That equates to 37.3%. That is obviously a terrible percentage. The Bucks took some terrible shots and I would love to know why Budenholzer didn’t go to the bench more. Snell is a decent defender and Brown can hit threes. There were so many things wrong but the free throws are what really killed Milwaukee.
There is no excuse to miss free throws. You can argue law of averages and that players are human and they’ll make mistakes all you want. The bottom line is the free throw is possibly the easiest shot to make. No contention from the defense, you get 10 whole seconds, almost half a shot clock, for this uncontested shot, and it is relatively close to the basket. There is no excuse.
The Bucks have been plagued by this for years now. It started in 2017 against Toronto where they were, once again, free throws away from extending the series to a 7th game. 2018 against Boston also had those issues but that was more about a young team being unable to win on the road. This year, it literally cost them a game and made the series a tight 2-1 instead of a 3-0 that could be finished on Wednesday. Now the series will come back to Milwaukee after Game 4, hopefully with the Bucks up 3-1. If it comes back 2-2, be afraid. Be very afraid. The Raptors would have all the momentum and could easily steal a game in the Cream City with that momentum. The time for the Bucks to answer is now. Game 4 is on Tuesday. Make up for Game 3.